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Governing Bodies

Police quiz NFF staff over alleged World Cup visa scam

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The Federal Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the Nigeria Police in Area 10, Garki, Abuja is  grilling  the Head, Marketing and Sponsorship of  the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Mr Chuks Alizor,  over allegations of running a visa scam and obtaining money under false pretence from fans that intended travelling  to the last FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

THISDAY learnt on Monday that Police officials arrested Alizor on Friday and only released him on bail after a lawyer, Odezi Ighomoh Esq, petitioned the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Nigeria Police Force, Abuja over the scam that happened between April and July this year.

In the petition dated September 4, 2023,  sighted by THISDAY,  two fans, Mr Duke Uche Eseka and Obiakor Chris Albert Okechukwu, reported of being scammed to part with huge sums of money to obtain visa and match tickets in order to travel to the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals in Australia and New Zealand. But following inability of the NFF official to deliver on his promise and his refusal to return their money, the two aggrieved fans sought the help of the police to make Alizor to refund all that they spent during the processing.

The complaints also addressed copies of their petition to the Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Office of the Minister of Sports Development, the Chairman, Public Complaint Commission, and Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Law firm of Odezi Ighomor Esq, which acted as solicitor on behalf of the petitioners, who resided in Lagos, said in the petition that the NFF top shot asked the two of them  to pay the sum N7,722,000 to facilitate the visa issuance.

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They said that after making the payment into two accounts and being asked to undergo biometrics capturing and paying for hotel accommodation in Abuja, the accused refused and neglected to process the applications.

They said they made the payments into accounts belonging to Complete Design and Packaging Limited and Prudent Class Unique Resources Ltd.

The petitioners said that after several calls and messages to Alizor, the accused sent a purported rejection letter from the Australian Embassy.

They alleged that upon careful examination of the said refusal letter, it was discovered that there was no documents like bank statement, police character certificate, travel insurance, flight itinerary, hotel reservation, medical tests, match tickets and  visa fee that they paid for to back up their said visa application.

They however  also alleged that they were not the only victims of the scam by the senior NFF officer. Over 500 members of the Nigeria Football Supporters Club seeking visas to Australia and New Zealand were also scammed after parting with $120 each for match tickets and N320,000 each as visa application fee.

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They claimed that that applications submitted by Alizor was a sham as many complained about their applications as they did not get their visa approved nor their applications properly processed.

According to THISDAY newspaper, no official of the NFF was ready to speak on the matter when approached yesterday. The telephone numbers of Director of Communication of the NFF, Ademola Olajire could not be reached as at press time.

-ThisDay

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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Governing Bodies

Tinubu backs Amaju’s FIFA Council re-election bid

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Former Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) president, Amaju Pinnick has secured the backing of Nigeria’s President,  Bola Tinubu in his bid to get another term in office as one of Africa’s representatives in FIFA Council.

The 37-member FIFA  Council is the main decision making body of the organisation in the intervals of FIFA Congress. 

Pinnick is the third Nigerian to ever sit in the FIFA Council after Oyo Orok Oyo (1980-1988) and Dr. Amos Adamu (2006-2010).

Pinnick was elected into the council on 12 March 2021. He is bidding for re-election in 2025 when the current term lapses.

According to a media release from the State House and signed by Chief Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity,

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President Bola Tinubu expresses strong support for Nigeria’s bid for re-election into the FIFA Council

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Governing Bodies

Save Our Soccer, African Sports Journalists plead with Motsepe

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BY KUNLE SOLAJA.

An SOS has been sent by the International Sports Press – Africa (AIPS -Africa) to the President of Confederation of African Football (CAF), Dr. Patrice Motsepe to save the soul of African soccer.

 The sports writers’ body has written an open letter to Motsepe on the need to do more to save African football.

The letter, written Monday in Dakar, is premised on the recurring scheduling problems that “have made CAF a victim of collateral damage from the “war” between UEFA and FIFA.”

Continuing in the letter signed by AIPS-Africa President, Abdoulaye Thiam, the sports writers’ body noted that UEFA contributed to overloading of the international calendar with the creation of the Nations League, which is played on FIFA dates

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Owing to the congested international calendar, football competitions in Africa have been major victims.

AIPS wrote: …”the stuttering and uncertainties surrounding the programming of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) leave many wondering about the future of our continent’s most prestigious competition, which is struggling to find a place in the international calendar.

“Added to this, the external influences and the overload of the international calendar, modelled on the European interests, increases the scepticism surrounding the survival of CAF’s most lucrative and economically viable tournament.

“As a result, therefore, it is rare, if not impossible, for an African team to find a European team to spar with, except when they share the same group in a World Cup draw every four years.     

“As for FIFA, in addition to the Arab World Cup, it has also created the Club World Cup. Worse still, it decided to stage the latter competition from June 15 to July 13, 2025, a period initially chosen by Morocco to host the AFCON 2025. In fact, Cairo’s dependence on Zurich enabled FIFA’s latest competition to happily shake up the 67-year-old African Cup of Nations.”

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Also affected by the global football calendar are the scheduling of the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations and African Women’s Champions League.

The journalists recalled that the changing of AFCON tournaments from the even-ending years to the odd  was to avert situations of clashing with World Cup years and to avert exhaustion on players.

The situation is such that scheduling of tournaments in Africa is now determined by compromise reached with UEFA and FIFA.

AIPS averred that “it is important to deconstruct the image of Africa as a prominent stakeholder in the global game with huge voice of 54 member associations and votes being presented as an electoral cattle-tank, to be adequately given their fair share during debates and dialogues with FIFA, by offering constructive solutions with a view to accelerating a reform of the international calendar.

“It is therefore expected from CAF leaders to ensure respect for African Football which is full of great administrators and players alike…Mr. President (Motsepe), you claim to be a disciple of Nelson Mandela and a well respectable man. A man of principles. So do kindly refuse and remain our inspiration than anything else.”  

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Governing Bodies

Breaking! CAF’s axe falls on Eto’o

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Confederation of African Football (CAF) has imposed a fine of $200 thousand on Samuel Eto’o Fils, a former international footballer and President of Fédération Camerounaise de Football (‘’FECAFOOT’’).

  The fine is imposed on the FECAFOOT president for violating the principles of ethics, integrity and sportsmanship as provided in Article 2  paragraph 3 of the CAF Statutes.

He is found to have violated the said article by signing a Brand Ambassador contract with the company 1XBET in exchange for remuneration.

 He however escape sanction in a bigger allegation of match fixing and manipulation.

Eto’o faced charges of alleged manipulation of football matches and violating the principles of ethics and integrity.

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The Disciplinary Board ruled that there was insufficient proof to find him and Valentin Nkwain guilty of match manipulation.

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